Apr 8, 201108:10 PMPlaying for Our Team

Lesbian Sports blog

The Story of Kye Allums

Apr 8, 2011 - 08:10 PM
The Story of Kye Allums

As 64 division I women’s basketball teams took the court for this year’s NCAA tournament, George Washington University was sitting on the sidelines. With an 8–21 record, the Colonials had what many would consider to be a losing record. But this team has a lot to celebrate, because of the humanity, tolerance and compassion its players showed off the court.

Kye Allums is a member of the women’s basketball team at George Washington University. It is because of his story, that the true meaning of “team” was tested. Allums was born female, but he has always felt inherently male. During his freshman year of college, he decided to transition. However, this decision posed a unique problem. Allums wanted to continue playing the game he loved, but testosterone is a banned substance in the NCAA. He had two options: Quit playing basketball or keep playing basketball and wait to transition fully. Allums opted for the latter. And his teammates, coaches and the university itself showered him with support.

The mainstream media first broke the story about Allums and his decision back in November. But most of the coverage felt light and incomplete. It was as if reporters wanted to acknowledge the uniqueness of Allums’ situation without actually addressing it specifically. As a basketball player myself, I was instantly intrigued by the paradox of this story and longed to give Allums the platform to describe it in his own words. I felt it would not only be beneficial to Curve readers who don’t necessarily understand the complexities involved in being transgender, but also for readers who are FTM themselves. Naturally, Curve agreed.

As you settle in to watch March Madness unfold this year, remember to keep an eye out for an upcoming Curve story this fall about Kye Allums and his incredibly courageous decision to postpone his transition so he could keep playing the game he loves. It might even be more captivating than the NCAA tournament itself.


Lyndsey D'Arcangelo is the author of the Golden Crown Literary Society Award-winning book, The Trouble with Emily Dickinson. She is also the author of The Crabapple Tree and a huge sports fan. Every spring, you'll find her glued to her television for March Madness. When she's not watching ESPN, she's busy working on an upcoming non-fiction book project called, My Story is Out: The High School Experience. For more information, visit lyndseydarcangelo.com.

Apr 22, 2011 05:48 pm
 Posted by  Sir Jesse of Decatur

Nice story Lyndsey -
You are one of the few who have covered this story while consistently using appropriate pronouns...

However, I'd like to point out two more verbiage points that folks can do to be an aspiring ally to trans-folks:

1. People are not born male or female - they are born, then labeled
[to include being assigned a legal name]

2. The idea that there is a recipe to "transition fully" - which involves hormone therapy is detrimental - particularly to young people who are often lead to believe that this is an absolute truth. [I do like how you later described Kye's process as - his transition - which is how an allied trans-person would describe the concept in the most responsible/least restrictive manner]

Please consider adopting language that is less restrictive; I really dig the language used in the glossary of Kambda Legal's: www.nyacyouth.org/docs/uploads/LL_TransKit_FINAL_Lores.pdf

I too am an aspiring ally to the trans and other groups of marginalized folks who are marching for social justice ~ I just learned that the preferred term for youth/teens/kids is - young people!

There's a whole lot for us all to learn in building a beloved community ~ in this transient world!

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